"Make Over My Voice!"
Most people admit they can't stand hearing their own voice, but what happens when how you speak defines the way people perceive you? "It's OK for everybody to sound different," says celebrity voice coach Roger Love, "but we're supposed to be the best we can be within that difference."
Roger, who prepared the Jonas Brothers for their tour and coached Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon for Walk the Line, explains, "There's a technique that I teach everyone that it's possible to go from the lowest note to the highest note without pressure, without any straining, and that everybody can do that." He adds that there are really three voices people use. "There is chest voice, down low where most of us speak; there's head voice way above; and then there's a middle voice that hardly anyone knows about that sits in between. And if you have all three of those voices, you can pretty much do whatever you want. So I teach people to how to do that, and then I work on the specific problems that they have."
Can Roger's techniques help three of Rachael's viewers who are desperate for a voice makeover?
"I want to sound more mature!"
"When people hear my voice, they think I'm a little girl," Elizabeth laments, "but really, I'm old enough to be their mom!" The 47-year-old admits that her high voice affects her life negatively, that she finds it hard to be taken seriously. She says that she was even let go from a job when clients complained that she sounded too young and ditsy on the phone. "It is a horrible feeling to get rejected for the way I sound," Elizabeth says. "I would give up my first born child to have a more mature voice!"
Roger gets to the bottom of Elizabeth's problem, literally. "You don't really have any bottom to your voice," he tells her. "There's no way to get volume." Roger says that her voice is an octave higher than it should be, and his plan is to attach a real chest voice to it. "Everybody should speak in combination of chest voice, some middle and a tiny bit of head voice." After a few weeks of practicing Roger's techniques, Elizabeth shares what she thinks of her new deeper voice. "I love it, it's like my voice matches my personality," she smiles. "I don't mind hearing myself."
"I want to lose my New Yawk accent!"
"When people hear my voice, everyone knows I'm from New York," says 50-year-old Dawn, "but I want it to sound like I could have grown up anywhere." She first became aware of her strong accent when she heard herself on an answering machine, and her kids often kid her about the way she talks. But Dawn says that it was no laughing matter when her self-consciousness about her voice held her back from speaking at her father's eulogy. "I just didn't feel that people would hear what I really wanted to say, and it was due to this," she cries. Dawn decided to make some changes when she turned 50, such as losing weight, switching careers and getting a new hairstyle, but one change has alluded her. "If I could change my voice, that would be really great!"
Roger explains, "A lot of accents are created by placing your mouth in a less than optimal position." He teaches Dawn to drop her jaw more and separate her teeth when she speaks so the sound bounces into her cheeks and comes out into a more open space rather than through her nose. "I feel fabulous," Dawn admits after Roger's lessons. "I feel like it has completely changed who I am, the way that I respond to people and the way they respond to me. I finally feel confident."
"I want a more feminine voice!"
"When people hear my voice, they think it's a man, but really, I'm a 28-year old woman!" says Karen. She reveals that she first became aware of having a deep voice when her sixth grade teacher heard her answer a question and asked if she was a boy or a girl. "It makes it hard to come into any new situation," Karen says, especially when others -- clients at work or potential dates -- expect to hear a sweet, sexy voice on the other end of the phone. "I know money can't buy everything," she says, "but I would definitely pay a million dollars to change my voice!"
"You are trapped in the lowest part of her range," Roger tells Karen, "I'm going to connect the middle and the head voice because it's from that range that I'm going to pick up all the feminine, beautiful girly tones." Roger instructs her to practice half an hour to an hour a day. After a few weeks, Karen admits, "It's definitely difficult. Sometimes I feel myself slipping back into my old voice without realizing it, but then I go back to practicing. It's a change and it's something I have to pick up and develop, and it will get better and easier."
Roger shares his three tips that everyone should know if they're looking to improve their voice:
• Melody. "Most of us speak like we're one note on a piano. A piano has 88 keys -- you gotta touch some of the other keys! You gotta go up, you gotta go down and you have to practice that. Melody is key."
• Volume. "We've become a world of whisperers. We're talking to everyone like we're not public speakers. I say we are all public speakers. You might be talking to one person or your dog -- they're your public. You don't have to have a thousand people. We are all public speakers the second it comes out."
• Breathe. "Most of us are holding our breaths when we speak. You should breathe in through your nose, not your mouth. When you breath in through your nose it sends moist air to the chords. Pretend you have a balloon in your stomach. Fill up the balloon, and then when you're speaking, the whole time you're speaking your stomach is supposed to be coming in. If it's not, then you're holding your breath."
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